Interview with Brett Hagler, CEO and Founder of NEWSTORY

By Jack Hernandez for

Can you tell me about your background? I started out by founding a for-profit tech startup, then found myself down in a tent slum in Haiti where I discovered the problem we’re now solving for. I wanted to create a non-profit that operated just like a for-profit tech startup.

What’s the mission of your nonprofit? (what problem are you trying to solve) We’re solving two problems:

1) Life-threatening homelessness for displaced families living in extreme poverty.

2) The lack of transparency, trust and innovation in the non-profit space. Our goal is to create the best donor experience possible.

Tell us a bit about the success you’d had so far? In our first 11 months, we’ve generated $1.55M, funding 166 homes, and we went through Y Combinator.

What regions in the world are you guys launching in? We launched in Haiti, and we’re expanding into central America very soon. Our vision is to have New Story sustainable communities throughout the world.

How does your project work? (Who funds the new homes) A family that’s facing life-threatening dangers is sourced by our local partner, their story (pictures, bio) is put onto our website, then anyone can give directly to that family and know that exactly who they’re helping + where 100% of their money goes. When the family moves into the new home, we video that amazing experience and send it back to every donor that made it happen.

How do you guys plan to scale? Donor acquisition wise will be primarily through the virality of our digital fundraising campaigns, and we’re also starting to get into strategic partnerships with real estate companies and tech companies. We’ll scale to different countries by having a multi-located local partner and employing local construction companies.

Can you tell us more about being the only nonprofit accepted to YCombinator (we were not the only one)

The best part of the experience is we were treated no differently than the for-profit companies. We were treated exactly the same which is how I believe nonprofits should operate – with the same DNA and mindset of a scalable tech startup.

Where do you see yourself in five years as well as your nonprofit? (expansion plans, success factor, and so on)

We will have 50+ thriving, sustainable communities throughout the developing world, and getting ready to open source what we’ve learned/built, and also moving into domestic projects.

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